Sociology and Anthropology

Toward Islamic Anthropology

t would appear from the previous section that anthropology is, if not a child, a creation of the West and more specifically Western imperialism. This is not so. The work of Ibn Khaldun is reflected-with theoretical frame and supporting data-in that of some of the most influential contemporary Western theorists including Karl Marx, Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, and Ernest Gellner. Weber’s typology of leadership, Pareto’s circulation of elites, and Gellner’s pendulum swing theory of Muslim society betray the influence of Ibn Khaldun. It is indeed a tragedy that the science of sociology or anthropology did not develop after Ibn Khaldun. And Ibn Khaldun was not alone. There were al Biruni, Ibn Battuta, and al Mas’udi, to name a few.

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